The New Shul

Parshat Bo

This week’s parashah, Bo, tells the story of the final plagues in Egypt, and the negotiations that went with them. After the plague of darkness, Pharoah offered to let the children of Israel go to worship God in the desert. But he set one condition: that they leave most of their flocks behind as insurance that they would come back, and take only those animals that they would need to sacrifice. Moshe answered that they needed to take all of their flocks with them because they could not know which animals they would need to sacrifice until they reached their destination.

Rabbi Menahem Mendel of Kotzk learned a general lesson from that. We can never know in advance exactly how we will be called upon to service God in the future. Religion cannot be reduced to hard-and-fast rules. Sometimes we need to be present in the moment before we can know what is truly demanded of us.

Often we look to religion to provide air-tight answers to our questions. But the world is too complicated for that, and an authentic religious life must make room for that complexity. The key is to internalize as much Torah as we can, which trains our hearts to hear the still-small voice of Sinai  wherever we may find ourselves.

  • Shabbat services at The New Shul are on Friday evenings from 6 to 7 pm and on Saturday mornings from 9 am to 12 noon. The kiddush this Shabbat, January 4, is sponsored by Amanda Holley.
  • Childcare is available from 10 am to 12 noon on Shabbat mornings. Munchkin Minyan for ages 2 to 5 meets this Shabbat from 11:00 to 11:30 am.
  • Minyanim during the week are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am and on Wednesday mornings at 7 am.
  • On Martin Luther King Day, Monday January 20, The New Shul community will serve meals to the hungry at St. Vincent de Paul’s Jackson St. dining room. Please let us know if you can help.
  • Join us for Friday night dinner at The New Shul on January 24 immediately after the 6 pm service. The cost is $18 per adult and $9 per child/teen under 18 (no charge for kids under 5). Please send in your payment to reserve your place by Friday January 17.
  • The annual meeting of The New Shul community is on Sunday morning, February 2 at 10:30 am. All are welcome.